Yesterday the 3SOB team presented a 5-on-5 (and 1) panel on the return of Mike Miller. In it, we encouraged you – our readers – to give us your take on the questions presented. The response on Twitter was fantastic and we have decided to present a 5-on-5 READER PANEL.
We want 3SOB to be a forum for dialogue, not a lecture. If this is something you like and want to see more of, let us know.
You may notice that the names below are hyperlinked – that will take you to the twitter feed of our reader-contributors. If you like what they have to say, follow them and let them know! If you don’t like what they have to say, follow them and tell them they are wrong! Either way, FOLLOW THEM!
And now, 3SOB proudly presents the inaugural 5-on-5 READER PANEL:
1. What are your initial impressions of the Grizzlies bringing Mike Miller back to Memphis?
- Thompson Perry – It’s very difficult to be unhappy with what the Grizzlies managed to pull off with the signing of Mike Miller. At worst, it’s a low-cost PR move that brings in an old fan favorite, while at best it’s a major coup. Not only have the Grizzlies managed to sign a player whose greatest strength is the team’s most glaring weakness, but, at a price tag of $840k, they did so for what is virtually the change between the franchise’s couch cushions.
- Dylan McDonald – HUGE. After a number of shooters were quickly signed it appeared that the Grizzlies were once again going to fail to address their three-point woes. This is big for the front office. People will rightfully point out the immediate impact the spacing will have on Marc and Zach, but it will also give players like Conley to penetrate and Allen to cut through the lane.
- Brad McDaniel – Be patient. He’s not the Mike Miller that we know and love…and shot pool with at the Blue Monkey. He’s not exactly a shell of that player either. I don’t think he’ll play a lot of minutes. Rather, he’ll play key minutes in important situations. There’s no doubt that he fills the biggest weakness the Grizzlies have. All things considered, it was an excellent signing, but I think we’ll have to be patient in order to fully enjoy his impact.
- George Deitz – As widely noted, great move for on court, locker room leadership and community reasons. The biggest question in my mind is whether the FO was counting on Miami to amnesty Miller all along and for the Griz to have a leg up in the ensuing recruiting war. If so, very, very well played.
- Stacie Montero – My initial impression is this was a home run. He addresses the biggest need we’ve had the past few seasons: a legitimate shooting threat that can create some space for our big guys. From a PR standpoint, I think the front office has done everything they could to bring the fan base back around after the coaching debacle, and bringing Miller back certainly is the icing on the cake.
2. What do you expect from Miller in 2013-2014?
- Thompson Perry – The Grizzlies and Miller are well-acquainted, and there shouldn’t be many surprises from Mike this season. An efficient shooter with a nose for the ball and a high basketball IQ, Miller will make the Grizzlies better by balancing lineups and spreading the floor in ways that the Grizzlies have not been able to do in recent seasons. An underrated passer and rebounder, Miller is a capable ball-handler who can be trusted in big moments of big games.
- Dylan McDonald – This is tough. Miller says he is healthier than he has been in 4 to 5 years. But what does that mean? I think anything north of 55-60 games (and obviously the playoffs) is a huge win. Just the mere threat of having Miller out there will serve as much as an impact as him hitting 2-3 three pointers a game.
- Brad McDaniel – I expect him to play a big role in small chunks. He’ll come off the bench and play multiple roles for this team. Obviously, he’ll be in there to shoot. He can also give Mike Conley a break when they want to go big and give Zach Randolph a break when they want to go small. The idea of him, Bayless, Pondexter (and hopefully Mo Williams) on the floor together when we need offense is exciting.
- George Deitz – I expect Mike Miller to do what Mike Miller does … drill big playoff threes in his stocking feet (and occasionally with shoes on). Joerger will play him like Spoelstra did – 15 minutes a night, with minutes and moments increasing as postseason progresses.
- Stacie Montero – Regardless of the amount of time he sees on the floor, I think any time he’s out there, the other team has to respect him behind the arc. His reputation for being a legit shooting threat was just reinforced during the finals series against the spurs. You can’t cheat off of him and double our big guys unless you want him to kill you from 3 point range. That’s a win in my book even if he is logging less than 20 mpg.
3. As of today, who are the first two players off the bench for Coach Joerger in 2013-2014?
- Thompson Perry – Jerryd Bayless and Quincy Pondexter will be important parts of the Grizzlies bench this season, and Joerger will look to them early and often. Bayless is one of only a few Grizzlies who can create his own shot, while Pondexter’s continued improvement mandates a greater role off the bench. On nights when Tony Allen is more “trick” than “treat,” look for the Grizzlies to bring in Bayless and Pondexter to better balance the Grizzlies offense.
- Dylan McDonald – Assuming Pondexter doesn’t start, I think it has to be him and Davis. Pondexter took huge strides last season and if he can improve his consistency, he will become a huge asset from the bench. Davis will likely come in so he can play with Gasol for a bit and spell Zach. I think we will see Zach’s minutes go down to try to keep him fresh throughout the year.
- Brad McDaniel – The fact that there isn’t a clear-cut answer to this has to excite all Grizz fans. I think Bayless has to be one of the two because of the spark he provides and his ability to play two positions. I’ll go with Pondexter as the other because of the way Prince played during the playoffs. If that carries over to this season, I think we’ll see QPon in the lineup early and often.
- George Deitz – Quincy will be first off, assuming he doesn’t end up the starter at 3. Davis second off the bench. I expect Ed will see increasing time on the floor with first unit guys.
- Stacie Montero – I’ll go Davis and Bayless as the first two off the bench. The FO has expressed they want to groom Ed Davis and the staff will need to conserve ZBo as well since he’s not getting any younger. We’ve all seen what Bayless brings to the table, and as of now, I don’t think they’ve brought in anyone else that would replace him as the first guard off the bench.
4. Assuming everyone is healthy, who has a bigger impact for the Grizzlies in 2013-2014: Mike Miller, Jerryd Bayless, Quincy Pondexter.
- Thompson Perry – If all three are 100% all season (unlikely a case as that may be), Mike Miller would be my choice based on his versatility. He may be billed as a shooter, but to end the conversation there is to overlook his other talents–chief among them ball-handling and passing. Age has obviously taken its toll on Miller, but his game was never built upon a foundation of athleticism.
- Dylan McDonald – I just don’t see Miller getting enough games/minutes, so I have to go with Bayless. It is a Grizzlies fan’s dirty little secret that Bayless saved horrible Grizzlies possession after possession by draining incredible shots as the shot clock expired throughout the season. With no Bayless, this already problematic Grizzlies offense would have been markedly worse.
- Brad McDaniel – Can I use my copout here? I don’t want to insult QPon as he’s one of my favorite Grizzlies, but I think it’s both Bayless and Miller. I think Bayless has the bigger impact during the first 82 games. After that, I think it’s Miller with the experience he had with the Heat and the leadership he can bring to this team as it relates to a playoff run.
- George Deitz – Miller. Having an elite shooter of world-class calibre on the floor late in big games will make the offense deadly efficient down the stretch.
- Stacie Montero – I’ll take Miller. I realize I sound like I’m beating a dead horse when it comes to his skill but did y’all watch the finals the last two years? He absolutely lit it up from behind the arc, and without his shooting I don’t think the heat could’ve knocked off the spurs.
5. How do you grade the front office’s off-season performance so far?
- Thompson Perry – B+. The Grizzlies have gotten better in this offseason. The first two bigs off the bench for Memphis (one newly acquired, one sparingly utilized as a Grizz last season) were starters on their respective teams at the beginning of last season. One of the league’s most skilled shooters was acquired at a bargain bin price. The only thing keeping Memphis from an A grade would have to be the uncertainty surrounding the backup point guard position. Had Tony Wroten had a more promising summer league experience, that need might seem less glaring and this grade might be higher.
- Dylan McDonald – B+. There were three problems that I wanted to see fixed: 1) Overall depth 2) Three point shooting and 3) getting a capable pack up pg. Can any team match Zach, Marc, Davis and Koufus? I don’t think so. Miller obviously upgrades three-point shooting. Finally, please no more Dooling or Arenas type signings, let’s get a quality back up.
- Brad McDaniel – All season long I couldn’t wait to see what this front office did in the off-season. They have not disappointed. Up to this point, I’ll give them a B+. I’ve been in favor of every single move they’ve made all the way down to replacing Lionel Hollins. If the games started tomorrow, I’d give them an A, but I want to leave them room to improve if they make another move, which I think they will.
- George Deitz – FO had the guts to do the best thing long-term and face the PR storm that came with cutting Lionel loose. Koufos trade will enable Joerger to keep his best player, Marc Gasol, fresh. Miller signing opens up the floor for bigs. Got Calathes for basically nothing, drafted a first round talent in 2nd round, etc. Clearly an “A” offseason. And possibly more to come …
- Stacie Montero – I’m giving them a solid A. They’ve done everything they can to make this team as successful as possible. As long as they are willing to exhaust all options to put this team in the best situation possible to win a title, that’s all I can ask for as a fan and season ticket holder.
We want to thank Thompson, Dylan, Brad, George and Stacie for not only being 3SOB readers and Twitter followers, but for taking the time to contribute to the discussion. We hope this is something we can continue to do in the future and that you all feel like it adds as much to the experience as we do.
Grind on, Memphis.